Tharisa extends option to buy 90% shareholding in Salene Chrome

Chrome concentrate

THARISA has extended the option to acquire a 90% shareholding in Salene Chrome, a prospect located in Zimbabwe, to the end of March.

Salene Chrome owns three special grants covering an area of approximately 9,500 hectares on the eastern side of Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke.

As part of its agreement to invest in the chrome, Tharisa was to spend £3.2m in exploration work. Salene’s current owner, Leto Settlement Trust, will retain a 10% stake in the firm if Tharisa exercises its option.

Leto will also own a 3% royalty on production whilst Tharisa’s processing company, Arxo Resources, will have the sole off-take agreement.

Zimbabwe represents significant upside for Tharisa.

Speaking in December to Miningmx, Phoevos Pouroulis, CEO of Tharisa, said the company was turning its attention to growth in Zimbabwe given the abundance of its landholding there.

In addition to Salene Chrome, Tharisa also has a 26.8% stake and option to increase its shares in Karo Platinum, a company with 90 million ounces of platinum group metal (PGM) resource in Zimbabwe’s Selous PGM-bearing region.

“It is a low cost, high grade, and shallow PGM resource. The second phase of the exploration programme is underway which we hope to complete by the end of the first quarter. After that we will begin a pre-feasibility study, Pouroulis said. The Selous deposit was previously owned (and drilled) by Zimplats, controlled by Impala Platinum.

About two-thirds of $406m in Tharisa’s 2020 revenue (ended September) was from PGMs. Of this, 51% was provided by rhodium followed by platinum (25%) and palladium (19%). The gross profit margin on PGMs was 39.4% compared to 25% for chrome concentrate.